Air traffic continues to increase in Europe, which calls for solutions to make the most of limited runway and airspace capacity so that airlines can offer their passengers the schedules and choice of destinations that they want.

Airspace capacity

With more flights occupying Europe’s airspace, current ATM operations and procedures are being stretched to their limits. SESAR’s solutions aim to help air traffic controllers find new ways of dealing with the increased and complex traffic. SESAR is delivering major improvements which will increase airspace capacity by focussing on complexity management, automation and enhanced airspace management.

Airport capacity

Currently, the primary constraint for the busiest airports in Europe is the lack of runway capacity. SESAR is developing new technologies and procedures that will help airports to significantly mam integrated arrival/departure management, and enhanced Runway throughput.

In terms of the network, the ambition is to increase traffic throughput in order to accommodate all the forecast demand with a sufficient margin. In this respect, starting from the suboptimal delay situation in 2012 and assuming 50 % traffic growth by 2035 (i.e. reaching 14.4 million flights per

year), the SESAR ambition is to increase network capacity by 80-100 %. Regarding airports, the aim is to accommodate between 220 000 and 440 000 of the estimated 1.9 million additional flights per year.

Contributing to cost effectiveness

There are many elements of SESAR procedures and technologies that are intended to increase the cost effectiveness of the ATM system.

  • Applying of 1 Planner-2 Tactical configuration (1P-2T) within controller teams in a multi-sector environment improves ability to resource to demand, providing significant reduction in costs associated with staff overheads.
  • Remote and virtual towers allow for a cost effective provision of Air Traffic Services at one airport with controllers that are not physically present on location. This technology could make a strong contribution to the economically sustainable operation of smaller regional and ultra-peripheral airports.
  • The development of System Wide Information Management ,SWIM, will facilitate greater sharing of information between ATM stakeholders, which will lead to less duplication and increased predictability, as well as more efficient routing and lower fuel consumption. As the SWIM concept grows in maturity, standardisation of interfaces between systems will bring down equipment costs for air traffic control (ATC).
  • The use of a simple Airport Departure Data Entry Panel (ADDEP) improves the integration of small regional airports by providing a low-cost solution to compute and share aircraft electronic pre-departure data to the ATM network, between the tower and approach controllers, as well as the tower and the Network Manager.
  • The implementation of Localizer Performance with Vertical Guidance (LPV) procedures, which serve as fallback in case of ILS failure, can enable landing operations in bad weather conditions or in airports that are not equipped with ILS. Airport landing rates can therefore be improved or maintained, and costs associated with airport closure or flight diversions due to bad weather conditions can be avoided.
  • Enhanced Departure Manager establishes the pre-departure sequence and thereby improves traffic predictability, which results in cost efficiency in terms of increased airport capacity and fuel savings.
  • Automated support for Dynamic Sectorisation provides supporting tools to areas with high traffic density to evaluate the most suitable Air Traffic Control airspace configuration (sectors). Dynamic Capacity Management increases cost effectiveness by adapting the capacity to traffic load by grouping and de-grouping sectors and managing the staff resources accordingly.